Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God to seek from Him a safe journey for us, our little ones, and all our possessions. For I was ashamed to request from the king troops and horsemen to protect us from the enemy on the way, because we had said to the king, “The hand of our God is favorably disposed to all those who seek Him, but His power and His anger are against all those who forsake Him.” So we fasted and sought our God concerning this matter, and He listened to our entreaty.
Ezra 8:21-23 NASB
Then we journeyed from the river Ahava on the twelfth of the first month to go to Jerusalem; and the hand of our God was over us, and He delivered us from the hand of the enemy and the ambushes by the way.
Ezra 8:31 NASB
Is the God you trust in stronger than earthly troops and horsemen?
Ezra and the people with him made a bold statement to the king regarding their God.
“The hand of our God is favorably disposed to all those who seek Him, but His power and His anger are against all those who forsake Him.”
They backed those words up by seeking the Lord and His protection. And God in His faithfulness protected them.
How big is your God? Is He big enough to conquer your fears and worries? Do you trust Him enough that you are at peace in fearful situations? Do you seek His protection against the evil around you? Do you love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength? I hope that you know the mighty, powerful, BIG God who conquers sin and delivers His own. Are you His?
🌹 Seek the Lord and His strength. Seek His face continually.
Continually Seeking Him,
He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” — Acts 1:7-8
Why are we so concerned with the when of God’s plan instead of just trusting that He has that under control? All we need to be concerned with is walking with Jesus and telling of our experiences on that journey. A deep walk (prayer, Bible study, worship, praise, thankfulness) brings open eyes to the Holy Spirit’s work. We then can tell what we have seen through the power of the Holy Spirit.
So let us focus on Jesus and let the when happen by God’s authority.
Continually seeking Him,
Now the Lord said to Abram,
“Go forth from your country,
And from your relatives
And from your father’s house,
To the land which I will show you;
And I will make you a great nation,
And I will bless you,
And make your name great;
And so you shall be a blessing; — Genesis 12:1-2
Four days a week I walk four miles in the morning. On two of those days I take a very long path down hill at the beginning of my walk and, you guessed it, I have a very long hill to climb at the end of my walk. That can be pretty taxing the last quarter mile of your walk.
The other day my walking partner and I took that particular route walking a total of five miles and it was a chore to get up that hill. I thought I was going to pass out and for the next two days, thank the Lord it was the weekend, I paid a price with a very painful hip. That is not why I am writing this. On this particular day I looked up the hill desiring the top to come but it seemed so far off. It was as if the top kept creeping away the more I walked. It was grueling trying to keep my eyes on the top of the hill and realizing I still had so far to go to get to the top.
The following Tuesday I took that route again but when I got to the end I didn’t look up the hill. I focused on my feet and each step I took. As I went along I kept focused on the moment and enjoyed each step. By the time I looked up I had conquered most of the hill and so the short distance left was not much of a challenge.
As I thought about the difference in these two days my mind wandered off to how God gives us instruction as we need it. With Abram it was go. Abram under the direction of the Lord set out to “the land which I will show you”. How is that for direction? All Abram was told was to “go forth from your country and from your father’s house”. All Abram had was the Word of God and a promise. How’s that for trust? One step. One step of faith. Trust in the One God.
God directs our steps, path, each day. We only see a portion of the picture He is painting of our lives. I think that is a good thing. If we actually saw some of the things God has planned for us I think we would turn tail and run down the hill. On the other hand sometimes we long so much for what God wants us to do that we tend to not notice each step along the way. We miss out. God is building us into His perfect child one step at a time. Each step draws us closer to the fulfillment of His plan. Let us not forget to enjoy the journey. Trust each step to the Almighty. The reward is still waiting when we get there but let us not regret the steps it takes to reach it.
Continually seeking Him,
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him. — Lamentations 3:24-25
“The Lord is my portion.” He is my inheritance. He is all I need. He is everything I could ever want or need in this life and especially in the next. For without Him I would never experience eternal life with Him. Because He is all I will ever need I hope in Him. My soul is confident to say, “I have hope in Him”.
God’s eye is on those who hope for His lovingkindness, on those who fear Him. (Ps. 33:18) To have God’s eye on you holds so many promises and peace. To revere His holiness and purity. To revel in His love and blessings. To have peace in His protection and care. Those are for those who hope in Him.
God is good to those who wait on Him. As in yesterday’s devotion, we hear from Him when we take the time to wait on the Lord. He is good to us when we wait on Him. He wants to give us blessings, guide us in our day, help us on our journey of life to fulfill His purpose for us. All those are good things. He is good to those who wait for Him. Wait for His triumphant return. Hope.
While we wait we can seek His face. Longing for the Lord my soul diligently seeks Him. This too is good. Seek the Lord and His strength, seek His face continually (Ps. 105:4). Wait on Him. Hope in Him.
Continually seeking Him,
At night my soul longs for You, Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently; For when the earth experiences Your judgments The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. Isaiah 26:9
When you “do good” — are obedient to God’s Word, will, direction, instruction and walking closely with Jesus — don’t you expect good results?
Going through a particular journey you know that God is present. He is guiding your every step. You see God at work and you feel extremely blessed. A lot of good is coming out of your obedience and God’s will is being accomplished. You are encouraged, blessed and praised by others around you. You are floating on cloud nine.
Then . . . the season of that journey comes to an end. You move on and it seems that all has been forgotten — all those “good things” that you did. The praise ends. It seems that no one cares. And to add to the feeling of abandonment comes persecution. Accusations of misconduct and inadequacy. “But I was in the midst of God’s will, doing what I believe the Bible instructs me to do. How can this happen?” How do you handle that?
Jesus was well respected by many people, especially those who benefited from His grace and power. He had quite a following. For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; (Hebrews 7:26) who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; (1 Peter 2:22) You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. (1 John 3:5) Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and turned and said to the crowd that was following Him, “I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.” (Luke 7:9) Jesus was right in the midst of fulfilling the Father’s will and purpose. People were coming to Jesus and having their sin forgiven.
Then . . . accusations started to fly. And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He did not answer. Then Pilate *said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” And He did not answer him with regard to even a single charge, so the governor was quite amazed. (Matthew 27:12-14) In humiliation His judgment was taken away” (Acts 8:33) He was good, loving, caring and obedient to the Father. He did not seek the praise of man but the will and praise of the Father. How could this happen to Jesus?
The Word of God says:
“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. — Matthew 5:10-11
Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. — John 15:20
Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. — 2 Timothy 3:12
If Jesus was persecuted we can expect to be persecuted also.
So, back to the question, “How do you handle that”? Remember! Remember to focus on Jesus and His example, how He reacted to persecution. Remember that He is with you always. (Deuteronomy 31:6) Remember where to stash your treasures. (Matthew 6:19-21) Remember His faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:23; Psalm 33:4; Psalm 100:5) Remember that all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) And remember to Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:12)
Continually seeking Him,
Today ends a one year, six month, and 19 day journey of a lifetime. The Lord taught me so much about trust, dependence, who I am in Him, who He is and how much He takes care of His children. Let me share this adventure and hope you find encouragement, inspiration, and a deeper understanding of God at work in your life.
June 2012: I’m searching the net looking at airline fares. My desire was to go and see my parents. This was a usual ritual of mine every so often with hopes that I would see a fare that was reasonable. Didn’t happen often as I only saw my parents about every three years and most of those times they came to see me. But. . . this particular day I found an unbelievable, outstanding fare and immediately went to the Lord in prayer asking if this was possible and could I purchase these tickets for my husband and me. There was an underlying urgency with this request as my Dad was needing a two vessel bypass and a valve replacement. I wanted to spend some time with him in case this surgery would go bad. I bought the tickets.
I went to my boss at work and told her about my intentions to go see my parents in August. Unfortunately, I neglected to email her this information, even though we talked often of this trip in the office. (Understand I hold no blame on anyone. I believe it was the will of God as you will see soon).
First part of August my boss asked, “when is your trip again?” I reminded her it was set for August 29th. My boss, “I don’t have an email request from you.” I told her I thought I had but would send her one now.
That afternoon things turned interesting. As my boss passed by my desk to enter the office of her boss, I distinctly heard deep inside, “Sharon, you are on your way out of here.” I laughed to myself. After the meeting my boss passed by my desk, went to her office and emailed me a denial for my vacation along with an explanation that if I take the vacation I am signing my own resignation.
When I weigh family against work, family relationships and well being always come first. My Father could possibly be heaven bound soon and I believe God was leading me to go see my parents. I returned an email stating that she could then consider this my notice.
On August 25th I received a call from my mother telling me that my Dad was in ICU in a diabetic coma. God had affirmed that He was with me and I had made the right decision. My husband, daughter and I arrived at my Dad’s bedside on August 29th.
My Dad never did have the surgery. On September sixth my husband and daughter returned home while I stayed to minister to my parents. My Dad was diagnosed with congestive heart failure (CHF) and over the next six months he was in ICU three times, nursing homes three times and home twice. In February 2013 my Dad began to regain a quality of life. He returned to his ministries at church and became active again. All praise due to God, the great healer.
I stayed on after that because my Mom was having health issues that they needed assistance with. January 2014, my Dad is beginning to change. He starts sleeping more. A doctor appointment shows that his liver is not functioning well. Mid February an ultrasound shows tumors in his abdomen. He quickly goes from cane to walker to wheelchair to bedbound. A liver biopsy on February 12th shows cancer.
My Dad went home to be with the Lord in his sleep on March 20th at 7am.
What a journey. I have grown more dependent on Jesus Christ, trusted Him in tough trials, basked in His love, rested in His peace, walked with Him, talked with Him and I love Him more than I ever have before. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.
I thank my husband and children for allowing me this time with my folks, for their sacrifice. I thank God for the privilege to follow Him into the unknown (finances cut in half, away from husband, not knowing when or if I would return home), the honor and privilege to serve Him by ministering to my parents, and most of all for His ever present walk with me.
My journey complete with my Dad. Overjoyed with the time I had with him. On with the next journey as Mom and I discover His plan for us.
Continually seeking Him,
For Dad: For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. — 2 Timothy 4:6-8